Wiz Khalifa On Fame, Love and Being A Rock Star

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These days Cameron Wiz Khalifa”  Thomaz, the rapper behind platinum hits “Black and Yellow” and “Roll Up,” is dealing with the highs and lows of superstardom.

BET honored Wiz with nine nominations for their upcoming Hip-Hop Awards show, matched only by Kanye West (and surpassed by Lil Wayne’s seemingly absurd 18 nods).

Add to that the rapper’s venture into cinema with the stoner movie “High School” – which he’s making with his idol-turned-mentor, Snoop Dogg – and it seems like he can’t lose. Or can he?

A marijuana enthusiast, Wiz Khalifa was recently cleared of a felony drug trafficking count. In another odd twist, while visiting the Barney’s department store in Beverly Hills over the summer with girlfriend Amber Rose and their families, he was mistaken for a thief.

(Speaking of Rose, Wiz Khalifa’s public displays of affection with the former girlfriend of Kanye West have brought on the ire of fans who seem to think he loses credibility with every photographed hug.)

In this interview with CNN, Wiz opens up on his love for Amber, the best advice he gets from Snoop, why he’s cool with being called a “rock star” and all of the responsibility that comes with the title.

CNN: Where does the name Wiz Khalifa come from?

Wiz Khalifa: The name “Wiz” comes from me being the youngest dude in my age group of people that I hung out with. I was pretty good at anything I tried to do, so they would call me a young wiz. Khalifa is Arabic, it means successor/leader/shining light, and my granddaddy gave me that name. He’s actually Muslim and just saw my path, what I was doing and how hard I was working, and he gave me that name and I just put the two together.

CNN: You’ve been referred to as a “rock star.” Do you feel you’ve reached that status?

WK: It’s great because it just puts me in a different realm of how people see me. Of course I do rap music and I’m a hip-hop artist, but as an individual, as a personality and what I give to the people – it’s that perspective. I see myself as like the lead singer of a band or something [laughs]. When I go out there I’m a real performer, so I’m cool with [being called that].

CNN: You’re often compared to Snoop Dogg

WK: Just because of the vibe. Snoop is the boss dog, you know what I’m saying, and I’m a young boss so they see where I’m going with it. And even Snoop fully embraces me and gives me more [ammunition] for them to call me “young Snoop.” It’s a blessing, it’s a great thing, because I’ve always been a fan and everything that he brings is positive.

CNN: What life lessons did you learn from Snoop?

WK: He always just tells me to keep focused, to stay working when everybody’s not working. When people feel like they don’t have to work that’s when you’re supposed to be on your job. And always give back.

CNN: Let’s talk love and Amber Rose. Rappers aren’t supposed to be all lovey-dovey – what’s that feel like?

WK: It’s awesome to have that support and to have that base. It gives me structure, it gives me discipline and it helps me work on other stuff that’s much more important. I feel like everybody has some person that’s out there for them. If you tap into that and take advantage of it and hold it close and treat it like what it is, that’s when you’ll get – fully – out of it what you’re supposed to.

CNN: Let’s talk about your love for weed. How much are you spending these days? Give us a figure.

WK: Oh nah, there’s no figure, man. It varies [laughs].

CNN: Would you see your financial habits or relationship with the drug change if it was ever legalized?

WK: It would be the same.

CNN: Really?

WK: Yeah, because it’s not about being illegal and it’s not about it being bad or anything like that, it’s about what makes me happy and what I know is not too dangerous. It’s a huge umbrella – doctors smoke weed, old ladies smoke weed, soccer moms, players, coaches – everybody smokes weed. I think it’s a common ground, it’s a peaceful ground.

CNN: You’re recognized more often now, but at a Barney’s store you were confused for a thief while shopping with your mom and Amber. Did that make you angry?

WK: It’s cool because I never have any expectations. I don’t expect to get the red carpet rolled out. Other people expect me to get [Hollywood]. That situation kind of blew up and Barney’s ended up sending me an email being like, “We apologize! Any time you come to the store…” It ended up working out in my favor anyway, by not blowing up and by just remaining who I am and being cool. That doesn’t bother me at all. The only time I would lose is if I give up who I am. As long as I stand up for me and what I believe in, I’ll be straight.

CNN: You started taking music seriously at 14. How has Cameron grown up as a person since then?

WK: I see myself [as] pretty cool. I was a cool 14-year-old, too. I always envisioned myself being a rapper and being in the game and having success, but you never know what it feels like or how you’re going to be when you’re there…Like from it being a dream and from just watching it on TV and seeing people’s tours to now having my own tour, having my own buses, having my own production. I shake the hands of all of my production guys my lighting guys, and I’m like, “Yo, you’re doing a great job!” It’s just knowing, the knowledge. I’m really, really happy with I’ve learned.

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Mack Maine Talks Lil Wayne’s Impending Retirement

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With his popularity and success still at a supreme zenith, is it really close to the end for the man who will have the number one album in the country? Back in the July/ August issue of XXL magazine, Lil Wayne declared that he was retiring soon to spend more time with his children.

“I’m bowing out still on top,” Wayne said during his interview for the cover story. “I’m bowing out still on top,” he says. “I’ma make y’all want me when I retire. I’ma make y’all be like, ‘Nooo!’ I ain’t leaving out this bitch when y’all be like, ‘Yeah, it’s about time, dawg.’ Carter IV might be my last one. I’ma make y’all be like, ‘Fuck!’ Yeah, nigga, I’m gone.”

“…Nah I’m fuckin wit y’all man,” he would say later. “Y’all know a nigga ain’t going nowhere till he bout 31. By 31. I’m gone by 31 shawty.”

Obviously none of his fans want to see Wayne leave the game, but what does his Young Money family think?

“As far as that retirement goes, I don’t know what he’s talking about,” YM President Mack Maine told XXLMag.com. “I’m not trying to hear that… I mean technically he can. We paved the way where Young Money the brand is gonna be so big. And he’s done so much where he can just tour. But I know his love and passion for the music…. I also know he has love and passion for his kids and family and he sacrificed a lot of this life we living. So at 30, if he says he wants to hang it up and be a family and a businessman, I wouldn’t be mad at it. He’ll be like 18, 19 close to 20 years in the game. And [have put out] that many albums. He’ll be a vet at a young age. It’s not like we’re gonna need to put out albums, it’s just the passion. Can you walk away from it?”

Well luckily, listeners still have a few years for Weezy to change his mind. As for now, reports are putting the first-week numbers for Wayne’s Tha Carter IV (released August 29) as high as 900,000 copies sold. He also has two songs on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. “How To Love” is currently number seven while the Drake assisted “She Will” debuted at number three just last week.

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Lil Wayne Is Getting Sued For $15 Million Over “BedRock”

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Rapper Lil’ Wayne has been hit with a $15,000,000 lawsuit over the hit single “BedRock.”

Done Deal Enterprises, based in Waynesboro, Georgia, filed a lawsuit against Lil Wayne, Young Money Records, and Cash Money Records, in the United States District Court, Southern district of New York, over the song.

The lawsuit, which was filed on August 1st, claims that the rapper stole their copyrighted tune “BedRock,” and incorporated it into the track of the same name, that was eventually featured on the compilation album We Are Young Money.

We Are Young Money peaked at #1 on the Billboard Rap charts upon its release in December of 2009.

The Young Money version of the tune featured guest appearances by Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lloyd, Tyga, Gudda Gudda, Jae Millz and was originally produced by Kane Beatz.

According to the lawsuit, the single has moved an estimated 3,000,000 copies, while the album has been certified Gold (500,000 sold) by the RIAA.

The rapper and his counsel have been directed to appear in court on October 12th, 2011.

Game Will Sign With Cash Money After Interscope

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Chuck Taylor shares that he’s been thinking about making moves to a different label.

Game has revealed that he is considering signing with Cash Money Records after his Interscope Records contract is fulfilled. With only one more album left on the plate following the August 23rd release of R.E.D. Album, the Compton, California native explains that he plans on abandoning Interscope and signing with the house that Birdman and Slim built.

“We been playing with the idea of going over to Cash Money or trying to marry that and Black Wall Street,” he told XXLMag.com. “So, we’ll figure it out before the end of the day. I definitely think that’s where I’ll probably end up. Cause they winning, they want to win and I been winning and want to continue to win.”

Game, who explained that his relationship with Birdman dates back to before he dropped his debut The Documentary, has collaborated with Cash Money’s Lil Wayne several times throughout his career. On an unreleased track from R.E.D. Album titled “All I Know,” Chuck Taylor speaks on the label proposal.

Lil Boosie Charged With Smuggling Drugs Into Prison

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Maybe you’ve only heard of Lil Boosie in passing, or perhaps you’ve never heard of him at all. His songs have never earned regular local radio play, and his influence west of the Rockies is usually relegated to street rap diehards and those who read their RSS feed intravenously.

But in the South, his influence is omnipresent, crossing racial and class divides. He’s a cult figure with a mass following, a high-top faded and ferocious performer perennially enduring some sort of struggle (whether it’s women, diabetes or triumphing over illegal downloading to buy a candy-painted car).

From his first days as a member of C-Loc’s Concentration Camp clique to being promoted as the next Trill star by Pimp C, to his classic mixtapes, to a trio of solo albums released on Asylum Records, Boosie has earned a reputation as one of the rawest rappers in the South, a region known for unfiltered flamboyant personas.

Alas, it’s also a region known for the frequency with which its most popular artists are incarcerated. Over the last few years, T.I., Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, Mystikal and Lil Boosie have been incarcerated for various indiscretions. Yet Boosie’s charges trump them all.

While it’s dificult to parse his current legal woes, at the moment he is facing charges ranging from ordering the murder of rivals (a charge that could get him the death penalty) to various conspiracy charges to distribute and smuggle narcotics into a federal penitiary. And on Monday, he was indicted on charges of trying to smuggle codeine into a second state prison. The indictment comes from a May 25 charge that Boosie and two local men had been attempting to smuggle in the banned substance. If convicted, it could lead to two to four years being tacked onto Boosie’s prison time.

Ignoring speculation about his guilt or innocence, it’s sad to watch one of the most singular voices of his generation get shut down. With his sinister amphibian croak, Boosie rapped about many of the same tropes as his peers, but he always conveyed greater anguish, sincerity and unfiltered passion. He created music to triumph over adversity, which resonated with anyone going through any sort of woe. He also stole the show on “Wipe Me Down,” which remains one of the funnest songs of all time.

Recently, a bootleg mixtape compilation of his most recent work has cropped up. Downloading it is recommended. Of local interest is “California,” a paean to the streets of L.A. and its most famous cash crop.

Tech N9ne Bringing Lil Wayne, B.o.B Into His World

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Among his underground following, Tech N9ne can do no wrong. But his fans, appropriately dubbed the Technicians, did get a little uppity when news broke that the Kansas City, Missouri, rap veteran would be collaborating with the likes of Lil Wayne on Tech’s recently released All 6′s and 7′s.

“No, I was not afraid of the backlash because I was getting it when Wayne said he wanted to work with me to [Hot 97 DJ] Funkmaster Flex when he was in Rikers,” Tech N9ne told MTV News during an intimate sit-down at his Strange Music headquarters in Lee Summit, Missouri. “All of my fans, a lot of my fans were like, ‘Oh no, don’t f— with Wayne. No, no, no, he’s mainstream and you’re underground — it don’t mix.’ ”

In October 2010, while still serving his eight-month prison bid for gun possession, Weezy revealed to Flex that he would like to work with Tech. For Tecca Nina, Wayne’s name-drop was an introduction point for new and curious fans, but for his long time die-hards, there was some skepticism.

“Different artists are supposed to hook up and make something beautiful, that’s what makes music wonderful, I think,” Tech said, defending against criticism that he was selling out. “I already knew what I was gonna do. When I get with these [well-known collaborators], the beats gotta say their names.”

The resulting collabo is “F— Food,” a raunchy track that not only features Weezy, but T-Pain on the hook as well. The song’s lyrical depiction of explicit sex acts will make it a hard sell for radio, but then again according to Tech, airplay was never the point of the union. “Everybody else is just going to try to put it on radio and big hit, boom and get their money off these cats. Nah, I just want to do beautiful music,” he said.


The Young Money CEO isn’t the only popular rapper to appear on All 6′s and 7′s, Atlanta’s B.o.B also lends his production and lyrics to the project on “Am I a Psycho?.” The dreary track is a far cry from Bob’s 2010 radio hits “Nuthin’ On You” and “Airplanes.” Tech remembers the feeling he got when he first heard the beat and often reminds fans of B.o.B’s oft-overlooked lyrical prowess.

“I chose it like, ‘Whoa,’ he did the beat and he did the chorus and I said, ‘That’s my world right there,’ and he wrote a verse for it. He’s a lyricist,” he said before citing Bob’s very first single, 2007′s “Haterz Everywhere,” as further proof. “That was thugged-out; that was gutter. I ain’t forgot B.o.B; he supposed to expand. But I know he can go, so we did ‘Am I a Pyscho?’ with Hopsin.”

Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Twista, Yelawolf, Kendrick Lamar and Stephen Carpenter of the Deftones also appearances on All 6′s and 7′s, but Tech N9ne puts any notions that he’s going mainstream to rest. “I brought people into my world,” he said.

What do you think of Tech N9ne joining forces with Lil Wayne? Tell us in the comments!

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